Some 50 years ago, I was fortunate to come into this world through a family who believed in the wonders of God’s work. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Okuguni and Beatrice Enebeli, from a little unknown town of Obi-Ukwele, in Ebedei, Ukwuani Local Government, in the present day Delta state.
Precisely 50 years ago today, the 10th of July 1966, I was born into that family, a Blue blooded Ndokwa man, who grew up to love Ndokwa, its people, culture and tradition.
I grew up to see Nigerian youths from the standpoint of the Ndokwa children, to be resourceful and intelligent. Hardworking, loving and daring.
The story of the Nigerian youth, years back, could be well seen from the lens of the average Ndokwa youths, who see things evil as evil. Yes, 30 years ago, I can still recollect how growing up, and moving round with my friends in the village, tried to see ourselves as the future of our community. How many of us were so daring to different types of manual or farm work to make our family and ourselves relevant.
It was a period where we competed to achieve, to excel, and to create a future, a good future. We vowed to ensure we will go to school, go to university, even without a good financial background.
Even in daunting situations and lacks, it was always a thing of joy to see one of us gain admission into higher school, and the rest still have hope of been relevant to the society. It was a period when the issue of oil was not a problem. It was a period when the Nigerian youths work and worked. And they struggled to pay for their school fees with their labour.
Recently an article published by the Vanguard Newspaper, titled “Angry Letter to Nigerian Youth: The future is here with us”, written by Bayo Adeyinka, quoted Albert Einstein that said “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”
Mr. Adeyinka at the introduction of the letter, said, “Unfortunately, this is what you are doing. You complain about the problems and challenges but that’s all you do. You follow the same people who created the problems and eulogize them to high heavens”.
He asserted by saying, “You are guilty of lack of depth and originality. Your level of thinking is pedestrian”.
As a student of the first indigenous University in Nigeria, University of Nigeria, we were moved by the motto of the university, which is “To Restore the Dignity of Man.” However the full motto is to “Restore the Dignity of the Black Man”, our emblem, with a chain on the neck of a black lion, was like a clarion call to the students of the university and the entire Nigerian university to the glorious nature of the black man, nay the Nigerian whom even the international communities have always seen as very intelligent and hardworking.
We studied, with pride, we saw ourselves then as the future of Nigeria, and today, many of my colleagues and in different fields, public and private contributing to the economic development of our nation Nigeria. We all believe to do the impossible through hard work. It paid off. Even when there were good prospects some of us felt it is better to end up in the teaching profession, and today one of us is a professor in the Department of Geography, Delta State University. Many are in Politics, Security, medicine and more.
We strived, picked up courage and moved on, because life was good. All these were because we wanted a good future for us and our nation, Nigeria.
But today, what is the situation. We, as a nation, are facing a terrible future. Our country is now a country where the good things are now expected to yield evil, most especially from our youths.
In moving from my small humble way, I graduated and went to serve in the western part of the country, precisely, Osun state, and as the Corps Liaison Officer in Oriade Local Government Area. I was later opportune to work as a non-permanent staff at the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, (WRPC), Ekpan for close to a decade, and was thrown out like an orphan by the President Olusegun Obasanjo government, under the management of Mr. Funsho Kukpolokun, in the year 2014, along with others.
That experience was painful, but on that day it was like a push to move on. Just like a good friend use to say in the times of difficulty, “Emmanuel, disappointment is an appointment”. It had been true, because in every situation the statement, by no other person, but Sir Reginald Nnoshiri has always been true.
But in the case of the Nigerian youths of today, what is their future, according to Bayo Adeyinka, “Since no one can rise beyond the level of their thinking, you have remained at the aboriginal state of being- the same with your progenitors”.
At 50, I had weathered a lot of pains, frustration, hatred, rejection, disgrace. But in all these I always look forward to overcome. Yes. But in those years, when I weathered the storms, I also ran many businesses. I had failed in many and succeeded in many. And that is why I am asking the Nigerian youths to sit down and reflect.
Today, one of my joys in life is putting the name of Ndokwa on the international scene. The formation of www.ndokwareporters.com was like a dream. www.ndokwareporters.com may not have equaled other local and world online Media, but we had created a niche for ourselves. There is no other online medium that has more news about Ndokwa, than this website. Though the name looks local, but today it is international as many of our readers and contributors comes from countries you will never imagine.
Today, we had proved that there is life in every of our thought, even if it is going to be difficult at the beginning.
So as I celebrate today my 50th birthday, I encourage the Nigerian youth to sit down and reflect properly of their future.
They should stop and look at each device in their hands as a means of livelihood, and not for crime. Today, while the majority in the world are making money producing and marketing their ideas on the net, using websites, Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, the Nigerian youths see more of the negative use of these platforms.
It is wise for us to sit down and reflect on our future as youths, because as the united nation slogan goes, the “Youths are the leaders of Tomorrow”. But if the youths refuse to see this, then the nation is in trouble.
Today from the North-East to the South, there is one security issue or the other. These issues are not carried out by adults, even though they are sponsored by many of them, but by youths who had made themselves available for all forms of violence, including political violence.
The Nigerian youth today, has developed the spirit of hatred. They preach hatred more than love today. This should stop. We just have to live as a nation, by working, living and doing loving things.
Yes, there is world economic meltdown, maybe by the world oil prices, and insurgency in the Niger Delta, but history has taught us that the period of depression is good for the wise to invest. The youths should sit up. Look around them on what to do. Today they are the major critics of government policies and yet, they are still the major tools of destruction in the country.
Emmanuel O. Enebeli
Publisher, http://www.ndokwareporters .com